- REview23, the REA’s state of the industry annual report, is published;
- Growth and further successes are shown in the power sector, but until supportive government policy measures are forthcoming for heat, transport and circular bioresources, it will continually be a challenge for the UK to meet its net zero commitments in the short, medium and long term;
- Government must address policy gaps if it is serious about energy security and harnessing the economic potential of net zero;
- 14% of the UK’s energy (power, heat and transport) supplies came from renewable sources in 2022;
- Over 140,700 people were employed in the renewable energy and clean technology sector in 2021/22 – the REA projects that this could increase to 210,000 by 2035
- Regional market value projections estimate that the value of the renewable and clean technology sector could reach £46bn by 2035 given the right policy and regulatory conditions.
The REA (Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology) publishes annual ‘state of the industry’ report REview23 today, saying that the entire energy transition still faces significant challenges which are currently delaying the roll out of low carbon technologies across all sectors.
The report, which presents the latest deployment and employment figures for the renewable energy and clean technology industry, shows that while progress on renewable power remains positive, until supportive Government policy measures are forthcoming for heat, transport and circular bioresources, it will continually be a challenge for the UK to meet its legally binding net zero commitments.
The report highlights that the energy transition is as much an economic opportunity as an environmental imperative. The industry is currently on track to support more than 210,000 jobs by 2035, with the market value doubling from 2022 at £23bn to £46bn by 2035. However, political uncertainty and rolling back on green policies has meant that renewable developers are hurting, and international investment risks going elsewhere. With the right policy and regulatory environment, the Government can ensure that these figures are exceeded, and the UK can continue to be a world-leader.
As highlighted in last year’s report, jobs are found across the country, although numerically, much of the industry is currently weighted towards London and the South East, reflecting a trend across the economy. However, our modelling shows that consistent and proactive support from the Government – for example, more use of Supply Chain Plans – could see future jobs and investment distributed more equally across every region and nation of the UK. The North East could see a 111% increase in market value by 2035, the North is projected to support around 30,600 jobs with another 12,700 jobs held in Yorkshire and the Humber. Harnessing the potential of all regions of the UK and accelerating deployment of all clean technologies is essential.
Key findings include:
- Over 140,700 people were employed in the renewable energy and clean technology sector in 2021/22 – the REA projects that this could increase to 210,000 by 2035 including the addition of projected energy storage and flexibility services. The market value of the sector could double from £23bn to £46bn in the same time period;
- In 2022, bioenergy continued to play a significant role generating clean power, while wind energy accounted for more than half of all renewable electricity;
- 8.36% of the UK’s total heat consumption and 5.32% of the UK’s total transport energy consumption was generated by renewables in 2022;
- Recycling rates for 2021 (the latest available full year) increased slightly, to 43.7% and while any increase is positive, the circular bioresources sector remains overlooked, and with the organics industry in a prime position to help the UK deliver on our net zero targets it is disappointing that industry is not able to capitalise on its full potential.
Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive of the REA (Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology) said:
“The urgent need to unlock policy and investment blockages is clear throughout REview23, which shows that in 2022, only 14% of the UK’s total energy consumption came from renewable sources across heat, transport and power according to Government statistics (DUKES, 2023).
“While we continued to see the dynamic resilience of the renewable energy and clean technology sector over 2022 through the energy crisis, as well as months of political and policy uncertainty, we are not immune to real world economic forces. Indeed, at times it can feel as if we are wading through treacle when repeatedly being challenged to make the economic case for net zero.
“Even though it has been proven countless times that the energy transition is as much an economic opportunity as an environmental imperative, our sector still finds itself having to overcome naysayers time and time again.
“REview23 projects that thousands of new jobs and billions of pounds will be added by the sector by 2035, and these figures could be even greater should the Government deliver the right support. Of course, these numbers are by no means guaranteed if the Government continues to provide patchy and unreliable policy.
“We are clear, tackling climate change and boosting our economy is not an ‘either-or’ decision. In fact, it goes hand in hand. I would urge the Government to recognise the opportunities on offer for our country and finally match their warm words with action.”
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